after attempting to return to college, taking one or two classes here and there around family and career responsibilities, i finally enrolled at an online university. in about two years, i completed the program and received my bachelors in administration - accounting degree.
as a single mother and primary supporter of five children, i do not believe i could have earned my degree without my online university.
while online courses have due dates that must be met, there is a great deal of flexibility as to when you can complete assignments when studying online. i participated in online classroom discussions at 1:00 am and submitted papers on sunday afternoons. i was able to complete the work on my schedule, outside of the restrictions of a designated class time.
pop in, pop out
not only are the times when you can attend class flexible, the amount of time you spend in a class is flexible. i often had just enough time during my lunch break to enter into a classroom discussion. with the online option, i could exit the forum group when i needed to return to work and then rejoin after work if necessary.
online courses can be taken wherever you have internet access. i completed one class from the internet lounge of a cruise ship while my family was on vacation.
my university offered classes in five-week slots rather than by semester or terms. this was very beneficial when my father became terminally ill. i was able to stop taking classes for 15 weeks during his last days without withdrawing and without throwing my student loans into repayment.
in addition to classes, my university library was online, allowing me to not only attend classes but to do research on my schedule. as an alumnus, i continue to have access to these resources.
i attended a private online university, and their financial aid department expertly guided me through the process of determining what aid packages i qualified for and how to apply for them. having dealt with public universities for both myself and my children, i can say unequivocally that the private school provided much better assistance.
in order for me to attend classes at a brick and mortar university, i would have had to go to school in the evenings and/or on weekends, and childcare options are limited during these times. private sitters are not always reliable and can get expensive. with online school i could attend class and take care of my children at the same time.
at the end of my studies, my university had switched to electronic editions of textbooks for all classes. at that time, each book cost $50, which was far less than the printed editions and also far less cumbersome.
variety of voices
my online university draws teachers and students from all over the world. this greatly increases the diversity in a classroom and provides challenging discourse among those from vastly different communities, regions, and cultures.
still got to walk
even though i attended class online, my university holds commencement at several locations, including tampa where i lived at the time. this allowed me to physically walk the aisle and collect the diploma i had worked so hard to achieve, and my friends and family were in attendance.